Groceries are a major expense for most households. Even a single person can spend upwards of $200 per month on food. And yet, it is easy to cut your grocery bill by 25% or more if you know how. Here are 10 ways to save money at the grocery store.
Okay, maybe you used to laugh as you watched people pull out their coupons, but the truth is that coupons can save you hundreds of dollars every year. On average, you could easily save from 5% to 15% on every $100 of groceries you purchase. Seek out supermarkets that will double — some super stores even triple — the face value of manufacturers’ coupons. Print Free Coupons here.
- Store Brands
Don’t always opt for name brand products. They are almost always more expensive than the store brand even if you have a coupon. You will be hard pressed to tell the difference between Del Monte Fruit Cocktail and the store brand of the same product except for the price. People do not realize that most store brands are actually made by name brand companies, just branded with a different name. The biggest difference other than the name is usually the price. Why pay $0.79 for the name brand product when the identical store brand product is only $0.59.
- Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk will almost always save you money but only if you can use items before they go bad. Buying a case of oranges if you’re only one person is probably not a wise idea since they will go bad long before you can eat them. However, find someone who will share those products with you and divvy up the cost. If you’re not in the vicinity of one of the big box stores like Costco or Sam’s Club, you might try Amazon Grocery. This new service offers purchases in bulk at remarkably good prices, and if your order is more than $25, shipping is usually free.
- Never, never grocery shop when you’re hungry and always shop with a list
It’s a proven fact that you will buy more if you shop on an empty stomach, and even more if you don’t use a grocery list.
- Baby Food
Instead of buying expensive baby food, make your own. You can use fresh vegetables such as peas, green beans or corn; run it through the blender; an d then freeze individual servings in ice cube trays. When it comes time to feed the baby, pop out a cube of food, defrost, and you have an instant meal. This is a real time and money saver. In fact, most foods can be frozen. If you make family meals like spaghetti, soups, even meats, simply make a smaller portion with less salt and spice, puree, and freeze just like the vegetables. Find recipes here.
- Freeze Food
When you grocery shop, look for bargain items that can be frozen. Most people do not even think about shredding block cheese and freezing it. Did you know you can even freeze eggs? If you find apples on sale, make your own apple pies and freeze them or make applesauce. Whenever you see a great bargain, think about freezing. You can even create your own frozen dinners.
- Plan Menus
Although it will take some time initially, after you have planned a week’s menu once, it will become much easier. And best of all, it WILL save you money. Knowing exactly what you’re making helps you to shop for foods that can be sued more than once. As an example, if you are going to have spaghetti on Tuesday, you could buy bulk ground beef at a better price and then use the other half for tacos on Saturday. Another option would be buying round steak and have Salisbury steak one night and a few days later use the leftovers for breakfast hash. This will help you stretch meals and avoid last minute impulse buying.
- Avoid buying prepared foods.
Yes, we all lead busy lives, but prepared foods, ounce for ounce, are the most expensive items you can buy in a grocery store. They are one of the easiest ways to throw money down the drain. If you must buy prepared foods, at least buy them in bulk to help keep the cost down. Perhaps the best reason to avoid prepared foods is that you can control the ingredients. Eating healthier should be everyone’s goal.
- Leave the family at home.
Unless you’re sending your teenage son or daughter out to buy a gallon of milk, leave the family at home when you grocery shop. Kids are very persuasive, especially if they’re acting up, when it comes to the extra goodies that you pop into your shopping cart just to keep them quiet. What’s more, it’s probably junk food that they don’t need. Let Dad babysit the kids in the evening while you grocery shop, or have a neighbor with children watch the kids for you in return for you watching her kids while she grocery shops.
- Stock up.
As you shop, if you notice a product that you use on a consistent basis is on sale for a great price, stock up. As an example, if you use a particular type of shampoo costing $2.00 per bottle and you find it on sale for $0.99, go ahead and buy 2 or more bottles. You should only do this on items you know will be used.
For 50 more ways to save money on groceries, click here.